MANILA, Philippines — Substitute bills of several priority measures have been approved by the House of Representatives Committee on appropriations to ensure that the proposals would move despite the bicameral conference committee hearings on the 2023 national budget.
Among the substitute and consolidated bills which needed approval from the appropriations committee are the following:
- House Bill No. 2 and similar other proposals instituting a health emergency auxiliary reinforcement team (Medical Reserve Corps Act)
- House Bill No. 54 and other bills seeking to reform real property valuation (Real Property Valuation and Reform Act)
- House Bill No. 67 and other bills proposing a Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers
- House Bill No. 8 and similar proposals seeking to provide legal assistance to uniformed personnel
House Bill (HB) No. 2 was one of the first bills filed by then-incoming House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez as he and other lawmakers sought to renew the push for a more sturdy medical workforce, especially during times of emergency.
Romualdez noted in his bill that the Philippines’ doctor-population ratio is below the recommended 10 doctors per 10,000 individuals — or short of around 200,000 health workers. This is crucial, the authors said, as the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the need for more health workers in the country, especially after doctors and nurses were exposed to the disease.
Romualdez, Tingog party-list Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre, along with Presidential son and Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, also refiled HB No. 8 before the 19th Congress officially convened. The said proposal seeks to aid military and uniformed personnel facing criminal cases stemming from harassment.
Currently, the House panel is busy with the bicameral conference committee, which discusses disagreeing provisions in the House and Senate versions of the proposed P5.268 trillion national budget.
After approving these bills within their respective committees, the proposals would then be forwarded to the plenary for second reading, where amendments and debates would be held. If a majority of the House members vote in favor of the bills, it will reach the third reading, where another vote will take place before the bill is approved.